It happens every so often. A real yearning to be by the sea. When I was a child, we holidayed on the Suffolk coast, staying in a static caravan year after year. We loved it there. We used to spend the day on the beach at Southwold, then filled our bellies with chips from the amazing fish and chip shop in Aldeburgh, then played on the campsite before going to the club house where our Dad would thrash us all at table tennis and buy us Bass shandy and scampi fries. We used to have day trips to Orford Castle and spend evenings crabbing in the tiny coastal village of Walberswick, or bimble around Dunwich, where the town is under the sea and drink tea on a wind-battered part of the eroding coast. Bliss.
This year, we hired a campervan from local hire company Custard Campers, and tried to squeeze all these things into three days. We packed up Ramsey, an early VW T2 Bay Campervan, and made it our little home from home.
Ramsey is the bad boy of the custards, with his loud exhaust and lowered 'rat' body...we certainly attracted some attention! My grandparents had an early bay dub, so I was used to their quirks and noises, but it took some getting used to for hubby to drive!
The boys rode up front whilst I sat in the back and crocheted. Heaven!
We stayed in Southwold, a beautiful coastal town with a lighthouse, pier and a beautiful duney beach at one end, and a row of bright beach huts at the other end. After a magnificent pub lunch at Adnams pub The Red Lion, we set about parking up on the muddy campsite and wandered to the beach. I sat on my crochet blanket whilst the boys played in the sea and built sandcastles...
We had a little BBQ and Albie sat in the van and did colouring...so cute. We even bought him a toy VW bus to play with. Truth be told the campsite was so muddy it was rather a miserable experience. We decided against setting up the awning for the van, and so we all turned in early...mainly because it took over two hours to get Albie to go to sleep and by that point we were knackered! The next day we bimbled into Southwold on foot, and visited our favourite bookshops and delis for holiday supplies, and had a late breakfast/brunch at the delightful 1920s-style tearoom, Tilly's. It then began to rain. MISERABLE. So we traipsed for as long as we could stand it, then took shelter back in the pub. Some reading and a couple of pints was rather blissful whilst Albie napped in the pushchair. Then we headed back and the day began to dry up.
We decided to take the ferry across to Walberswick for a spot of crabbing. Luckily, as it was the last week of term, there was hardly anybody there. The ferry turned out to be a lady with a rowing boat, who charged 90p per crossing! Delightful. Her dog stood watch on the quay by her little shack whilst she rowed back and forth all day. We caught five crabs before the rain started again, and we rushed back to the campsite, buying hot tea and cake at the little kiosk before we waded back to Ramsey, and devoured our deli treats: Pies, posh crisps and some San Pelligrino orange! Posh picnic. Another rain episode, this time a storm crashed over head whilst rain hammered down on Ramsey's tin top!
The next day we headed to Aldeburgh, which is a gorgeous vibrant town full of artists and some lovely gifty shops. We began the day with some chazzing, and visiting our other favourite bookshop. Purchases were made of course. We then stopped at my absolute favourite tea shop, The Cragg Sisters. This place is my imaginary fantasy tea room- exactly what I'd love to do myself! The vintage vibe, beautiful teas, mis-matched vintage china and generous home-made cakes, coupled with a few Cath Kidston touches...well you can imagine I was in heaven!
We meandered through Aldeburgh, calling in at various shops along the way, before setting up camp on the pebble beach....then the rain came!!! It showered hard for a few minutes, then we walked up the prom to the famous fish shacks, where I bought my amazing dover sole, brown shrimp and samphire for dinner. Then we walked back to the fish and chip shop (which ALWAYS has queues out the door!) and the rain came again...hard...for ages! So we sat in the van, ate our chips and decided to head home, bellies full and clothes damp. Albie slept beautifully in the front seat of the van, we should have put him in there in the first place...
Despite the rain, the mud and the eventual ride home with the AA, our Suffolk adventure is one we'll treasure for a very long time indeed.